Photos of US couple allegedly overdosed on heroin go viral

Ohio couple James Acord and Rhonda Pasek, who passed out in the front seats of a car with Pasek's son in the back seat, have since been arrested on child endangerment charges.
Ohio couple James Acord and Rhonda Pasek, who passed out in the front seats of a car with Pasek's son in the back seat, have since been arrested on child endangerment charges.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON • Pictures taken by a small-town Ohio police department showing a couple allegedly overdosed on heroin in their car, the woman's son ignored in the back, circulated widely on social media as evidence of an epidemic in the use of the drug.

The images were posted on the Facebook page of the East Liverpool, Ohio Police Department, along with an officer's report of the incident that led to the arrest of James Acord and Rhonda Pasek on child endangerment charges.

"The poison known as heroin has taken a strong grip on many communities, not just ours. The difference is we are willing to fight this problem until it's gone and if that means we offend a few people along the way we are prepared to deal with that," the department said in a statement on the Facebook page.

The photos show Acord, 50, and Pasek, 47, passed out in the front seat of their car, their mouths agape, as the child stares silently into the camera from the back.

According to a police report posted along with the pictures, an officer approached Acord's car after seeing it weaving erratically before drifting to a stop in the roadway.

Officer Kevin Thompson wrote that Acord, whose head was "bobbing back and forth", his speech almost unintelligible, told him he was taking Pasek to the hospital and attempted to drive away before falling completely unconscious.

Pasek was also unconscious and turning blue, the officer wrote. Both were revived by emergency medical technicians using several rounds of a drug used to reverse an opiate overdose, according to the policeman's report.

He said a folded up piece of paper found between Pasek's legs contained a small amount of a pink, powdery substance. Both were arrested and the boy was taken into the custody of county child protection services agents.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 11, 2016, with the headline 'Photos of US couple allegedly overdosed on heroin go viral'. Print Edition | Subscribe